Judge gives marijuana mule conditional sentence

Transporting $10,000 worth of freshly cut marijuana "from Point A to Point B" could have sent a Scotch Creek man to jail, but a judge ruled Thursday his lack of criminal record allowed for a conditional sentence.

Tor Penaluna, 29, pleaded guilty in provincial court in Kamloops to possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. He was charged after he rolled up to an RCMP roadblock on Squilax-Anglemont Road June 25, 2010, with 2.3 kilograms of marijuana in bags inside his 4Runner.

The officer noted a strong smell of marijuana and placed Penaluna under arrest. The federal Crown said jail was a possibility in a case such as this, but did not oppose a conditional sentence.

Chris Amour, Penaluna's lawyer, told the court his client was not responsible for the production of the illicit substance.

"His role was to take the drugs from Point A to Point B. He understands that is essential to the (drug) trade . . . but he was not the principal, he was not growing or trafficking," the lawyer said.

Judge Chris Cleaveley imposed a 12-month conditional sentence with terms prohibiting the man from being in places where alcohol is sold, except when he is working at his family's pub.

He must also do 40 hours of community service work and pay a $100 victim surcharge.

He was banned from having firearms for 10 years and must submit a sample of blood to the RCMP so his DNA can be included in Canada's registry of serious offenders.

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